Preschools are the stepping stones for children where they can get an excellent foundation for both social and academic learning. It is just the right preparation before they go on in their journey of formal education in schools.
Some parents wonder if a preschool education is required. I feel that it is a very important phase of their lives as this is where kids are exposed to a structured setting of teachers and other children. A preschool environment also provides opportunities for sharing, caring, and foundation for learning and social development. Here are some advantages of a preschool education:
Social and Emotional Development
In a preschool environment, your child spends half a day with a caring teacher and a group of friends. Preschool programs are designed to provide a nurturing environment where teachers provide a personal connection with the children under her care. When the environment is similar at home, children thrive on the similarity of love and care.
Children also learn how to deal with emotions in a preschool with many other children of the same age. Teachers are able to teach emotional self-control as they teach children ways to manage frustrations and anger through real life experiences with peers in class. At the same time, things like sharing are inculcated in subtle ways when they may show resistance in sharing at home. The programs in preschools are designed to instill all these qualities through structured play.
Structure and Discipline
Come to think of it, we often falter with structure and discipline in the home environment. We practice it on one day and let go on another. With a preschool, although it may look like a casual setting, there is plenty of structure and discipline in their everyday activities, mostly invisible to the children themselves. The environment of the classroom itself is designed to encourage social interaction and minimize conflicts.
Preschools have rules; rules like putting shoes and bags in the right place, washing hands before snack time and after visiting the toilet, using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the right time, and many others. These rules are taught well in an environment with teachers and students. You will see that your child will learn all this much more easily than when taught at home.
Taking Care of Themselves
In a preschool environment, children learn to take care of themselves and others around them. By offering children chances to help around in class and in school, teachers bring out the desire to engage in young children. You may not be able to do that at home when you ask your child to help you with something. With a group of students, teachers are able to do this task more effectively. Teachers also encourage children to be dependable. For example, a child who has mastered the art of trying shoelaces is encouraged to help others who are still learning.
Language, Math, Literacy and Cognitive Skills
Ina language rich environment, children learn new vocabulary easily and are able to use them effectively in conversation. With all the hands on activities they do, a child’s cognitive skills are also strengthened. The classroom activities are designed to introduce math skills in an interesting way to pique a child’s curiosity. Activities like matching and sorting games, board games that have number sequences and many other forms of puzzles all add to this.
Nursery rhymes and simple stories teach young children the right literacy skills required for this level. When they do this in a group, they are able to retain the information better.
You will notice that young children are in motion and active most of the day. The programs offered in preschools provide opportunities for children to use their energy positively in running, climbing and playing. At the same time, they are able to develop their gross and fine motor skills with activities like beading and lacing. They are able to build their hand-eye coordination through all these activities. After picking up all these skills, their confidence is boosted and they are better able to cope with the needs of Primary school.
A conducive preschool environment is what every child needs in order to develop age appropriately and be ready for the primary school years.